Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?…by Robert M. Katzman (written in 2004)


Am I My Sister’s Keeper? 

by Robert M. Katzman Copyright 2004

(First, this note. I am my Father’s son. But he was the son of Eastern European immigrants, people who fled from Jewish genocide in the Russian Czar’s Pale. They were terrified defenseless people. But their son Israel (1912-2000) grew up in the dangerous West Side of Chicago’s gangs in the Thirties who fought with the Polish and Irish gangs to hold their turf. Then three and a half years in the Pacific fighting the Japanese with General MacArthur, getting wounded but determined to stay in the fight. He was NOT a terrified Jew. An American who was very different than his parents, and who transferred that sense of justice and defiance to me in his many stories over my younger years. In many ways, I became an extension of him, of what he believed. Of what his sense of justice was. But I never dreamed that connection would lead to this story. Welcome to my very strange world, but believe it.)

 

In the winter of ’79 I received an unusual call from my father, Israel, who was living at that time in Sherman Oaks, California. My home was just south of Chicago.

My Dad was very distressed, I could hear it in his voice, because my older sister, Bonnie, had called him, in tears, he said because some foreign creep was stalking her at the school where she was a teacher. She was five months pregnant at the time with her first child, and the unnerving situation, my father told me, was only adding to her distress.

(Read on …)

Sometimes the Phoenix Burns………. Sometimes the Phoenix Returns…………by Robert M. Katzman

Sometimes the Phoenix Burns

Sometimes the Phoenix Returns

by Robert M. Katzman, October 3, 2016

(in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.)

On a grey drizzly Rosh Hashanah morning, I was sitting on my squeaking old cedar swing in Racine, Wisconsin, where Jews seem to be an endangered species. Just sitting still, staring at this massive brick fireplace I built out of heavy reddish paving bricks during my long winter without Joyce. Her illness kept her away from our home for months. I wanted to build something permanent, something that would stay with me. I decided to build a fire.

(Read on …)

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Humor,Jewish Themes,My Own Personal Hell,Politics — Bob at 6:37 am on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bribing a Chicago Judge with a Sawbuck

By Robert M. Katzman

Copyright © January 2, 2014

 

In the spring of 1965, in Hyde Park, an area seven miles south of Chicago’s central Downtown area and home of the University of Chicago and jazz, my father, Irving, felt it was time to explain corruption in the Chicago Machine and teach me the basics.

 

I was fifteen, and if you can imagine the setting, we’re in our small apartment sitting on either side of the scarred kitchen table. I was listening and playing with the salt and pepper shakers at the same time. He may as well have been explaining etiquette customs on Mars to me. I had no clue about what he was going to say.

(Read on …)

Retired, Confused, I Sing Joy’s Song…by Robert M. Katzman

 

By Robert M. Katzman April 23, 2016

 

Retiring from owning a store

What is that?

Time now indivisible?

Never late and no closing early

No more seeking to please

No more checking the clock

No more damning bad days

Regimentation?

Disintegration

(Read on …)

Chicago is Littered With the Corpses of My Retail Life…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © April 10, 2016

 

Like discarded trash from today’s opened toys

I see the ghostly echo of my career

Sprinkled across the Chicago like tarnished glitter

Tho’ they used to sparkle for me

Perhaps many people witness

The fast-forwarding of their lives

While still living them

Time relentlessly unfolding

Blank pages written by an unseen hand

Caldwell Grammar School, South Side of Chicago

1962-1964

When I was 12, I sold firecrackers

Purchased from a non-judgmental

And very silent source in

Chicago’s mysterious Chinatown

Ladyfingers to Cherry bombs

Roman Candles to Sky Rockets

To my less enterprising classmates

(Read on …)

Aloft in Wisconsin…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© October 11, 2014

 

She called me her Eagle. I called her my Swan.

 

We collected many of those ceramic birds at yard sales and flea markets, over the years. Now they have all flown away, somewhere. We remaining two old birds have shed so much besides feathers. All the chicks are also gone. Feeling weightless is so freeing, but we now seek a smaller nest.

 

Our exploration of the possible has gradually taught us about seeing life, land, rivers, shores, some buildings abandoned and some buildings preserved. And how we learned to perceive people differently, as well.

 

Not so surprising to us, but nevertheless causing a stark loneliness was a confirmation of our assumption that in so many small places with red-painted farms, “The People of the Book” have run out of pages.

 

(Read on …)

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